The Nuggets are officially eliminated from the playoffs now and are now playing for a draft pick easentially. At 32-40, Denver’s streak of ten consecutive postseason appearances will come to end and most likely be the team’s first season under .500 since since 2002-2003. This has fans wondering, where the team is headed in the future and thinking about the off-season. Now the Nuggets have plenty of options and a lot of flexibility, within there roster. I think one of the top things on Denver’s to-do list this off-season, should be finding a way to move forward Wilson Chandler.
Of course by now, everyone knows how the Nuggets acquired Chandler. He was involved in the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011 and hasn’t really been the player, most Denver faithful would have hoped. The seven year veteran has put up solid numbers, in four seasons with the Nuggets. This season Chandler is averaging 14.0 points and has started in fifty five games, both are career best’s for Chandler at least during his four seasons here. Now Chandler, is a very versatile player and seems to fit with Coach Shaw but, at this point I think the pros outweigh the cons with the forward.
Chandler gives Denver a good, athletic scorer on the wing, who can shoot the ball well and defend fairly well. However, Chandler has shown that he has very poor shot selection at times, has disappeared in big games consistently and has durability issues. In the past three seasons with the Nuggets, Chandler has played in only 110 out of a possible 230 regular season games and missed the entire 2012 playoffs. Most of those games were missed, due to a labral tear Chandler suffered in 2012 and because he chose to play in China, during the NBA Lockout.
The Nuggets showed faith in Chandler, signing him to a five year, $37 million contract extension in March of 2012. Denver in my opinion though, hasn’t seen Chandler grow as a player as much as he should have or play up to the expectation of that contract extension. Chandler has flashed his potential multiple times, scoring 20+ points in at least ten games over the past two seasons and even starting 50+ games this season. He just has under-performed too much to this point(especially in the playoffs) and has too many durability issues, for the Nuggets to keep him around anymore in my opinion. I think Chandler has reached his ceiling, at least here in Denver and the Nuggets brass should to look to move him now. While he is still relatively young, healthy and coming off his best year here.
I think Denver can get decent value in return for Chandler still and looking to move him would be a good decision for the organization. The Nuggets should include him in a package to get a proven player, younger star or first round draft pick. There are plenty of teams, looking for young wing players and Chandler could start at the three for multiple teams. In getting rid of Chandler, Denver also free’s up minutes for Gallinari when he gets back from a torn ACL, and more importantly open up minutes for Quincy Miller. Miller is a potential all-star in the making in my opinion and at only twenty one years old, has immense upside. Under Brian Shaw, Miller has seen much more playing time in his second year and has shown growth from his rookie season.
The former Baylor product, has appeared in forty two games this season and even started in six of those. In those six starts, Miller averaged 9.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and about a steal per game. He’s also been given high praise from Head Coach Brian Shaw, who compared Miller to Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George in an interview back in October. Even soon to be MVP forward Kevin Durant, praised Miller for his improvement after the Nuggets beat the Thunder 101-88 in January. Miller definitely still needs to become a more consistent shooter, better passer, stronger and continue to gain confidence at both ends of the floor.
Getting rid of Chandler, allows Miller to continue to grow by getting more minutes and playing time. Plus the fact that Brian Shaw has shown great faith in him already, shhould give Denver even more reason to part ways with Chandler. As you can see from the highlights below, of Miller’s first career double double this season against Orlando the potential is there. Miller’s already shown great improvement on the defensive end this season, and with his 7’4″ wingspan and athleticism, there should be no stopping him from being a elite defender. Bottom line, I think the Nuggets need to get rid of Chandler while he still has value and allow Miller to blossom into the player, we all know he can become.